Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Countrywide Announces a $16 Billion Comprehensive Home Preservation Program

This is a republished article by John Lopez:

Enhanced focus on rate resets will benefit more than 80,000 borrowers -

CALABASAS, Calif., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Countrywide Financial Corporation CFC today announced a comprehensive home preservation program to reach out to borrowers at-risk of default. Countrywide will launch an outbound calling initiative to refinance or modify up to $16 billion of Countrywide loans for borrowers who are facing an adjustable-rate mortgage reset through the end of 2008.

"Countrywide is committed to helping its customers sustain homeownership," said David Sambol, President and Chief Operating Officer of Countrywide. "Unprecedented times call for unprecedented remedies. We are determined to assist borrowers who have the willingness and wherewithal to remain in their homes, but need a little help to do it."

"Countrywide believes that none of our subprime borrowers that have demonstrated the ability to make payments should lose their home to foreclosure solely as a result of a rate reset," said Sambol. "This is yet another step in our continuing effort to identify and improve existing programs that assist our customers."

Countrywide will offer tailored solutions to its borrowers to proactively address the rising foreclosure rate. Dedicated teams of Countrywide specialists will contact customers who are current in their payments and approaching a rate reset to ascertain the borrowers circumstances and advise them about refinance and home preservation options.

Countrywide's new and enhanced programs include:

Refinance Program

-- For Countrywide borrowers currently in a subprime loan with a strong payment history, a special refinance unit has been created to contact approximately 52,000 borrowers to offer refinance options. The company has identified and will work to refinance approximately $10 billion of mortgages. For this group, Countrywide will offer borrowers options to refinance into prime or FHA loans. For those with credit issues, Countrywide will offer Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac's expanded criteria programs. Countrywide has a strong track record of successfully transitioning borrowers from subprime products to prime loans. Year-to-date, more than 31,000 borrowers have refinanced to prime fixed rate loans totaling more than $5 billion.

Modification Program

-- Countrywide is working to identify and contact prime and subprime borrowers who are current but unable to qualify for a refinance and are likely to have difficulty affording an upcoming reset. Countrywide will supplement its early notification letter to borrowers by calling no later than three months prior to the reset to determine their financial circumstances and develop affordable solutions. As a result of this initiative, Countrywide will successfully modify $4.0 billion in loans for approximately 20,000 borrowers in an existing adjustable rate mortgage through the end of 2008.

Additionally, for subprime borrowers who are currently delinquent and are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of a recent reset, Countrywide has implemented a simplified loan modification process. Countrywide is in the process of sending letters to these borrowers offering a pre-determined, pre- approved rate reduction. It is anticipated that 10,000 additional borrowers, totaling $2.2 billion, will receive modifications through this initiative by year-end.

Home Preservation Efforts

So far this year, Countrywide's existing home preservation efforts have
helped more than 40,000 borrowers stay in their homes including the
completion of 20,000 loan modifications. Countrywide's comprehensive
efforts help borrowers facing financing difficulty. These include:

-- 2,700 highly-trained home retention specialists that work with delinquent borrowers by providing payment alternatives in order to help them retain their homes.

-- Countrywide borrowers with an impending rate reset are sent a letter 180, 90 and 45 days prior to the rate increase to ensure that borrowers understand their options.

-- Outreach to distressed homeowners in their own communities by setting up face-to-face meetings through various means; hosting seminars around the country to help borrowers avoid foreclosure; participating in foreclosure prevention workshops, teaching them about possible foreclosure scams; and offering loan workouts on- site.

-- Working with non-profit and community groups across the country to create grassroots efforts to contact and counsel distressed borrowers, particularly in communities that are experiencing unusually high foreclosure rates.

Countrywide encourages consumers who face an increase in their mortgage payment or fear falling behind on their payments for any reason to call the Countrywide home retention team at 800-669-6650.

About Countrywide

Founded in 1969, Countrywide Financial Corporation is a diversified financial services provider and a member of the S&P 500, Forbes 2000 and Fortune 500. Through its family of companies, Countrywide originates, purchases, securitizes, sells, and services residential and commercial loans; provides loan closing services such as credit reports, appraisals and flood determinations; offers banking services which include depository and home loan products; conducts fixed income securities underwriting and trading activities; provides property, life and casualty insurance; and manages a captive mortgage reinsurance company. For more information about the Company, visit Countrywide's website at http://www.countrywide.com.

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